Sorry for the wait!
Fingal was floating in the water on his back, eyes closed, thinking of how his life with Reed had progressed, when someone suddenly pushed him under. Fingal flailed for a moment then surfaced and glared at his older brother. "Padra," he protested. "Was that necessary?"
Padra grinned. "Payback for yesterday."
Fingal rolled his eyes. "Padra, I'm tired… Let me relax…"
"And I was tired when I had my kids too. Did you care? Oh, no. No. I wasn't that lucky." He smirked.
"Fine… What do ya need?" Fingal sighed.
"Oh, please, no…"
"Yup. Just for a few hours."
Fingal groaned. "Fine… But I have to watch my kids too…"
"You'll be fine. You know my kids. They'll keep yours entertained I'm sure."
Fingal sighed. "Okay, okay. Go get em and meet me back here."
Padra grinned. "Thank you!" He bolted away.
"Stop!" Fingal called. "Blossom come here!" Blossom was jumping up and trying to wake up a tired squirrel that was sleeping on the bottom branch of a tree.
"I got her Dad," sighed Chester, going to her, grabbing her hand, and pulling her along.
"Chet!" giggled Blossom. "You're no fun!"
Chet rolled his eyes. "I'm loads when you aren't causing trouble. You're gonna make my hair go gray before I'm even all grown up!"
Willow giggled. "I wanna help!"
Chester heaved a dramatic sigh. "Of course you do."
Chuckling, Fingal moved to the kids and picked Blossom up. "Come on Kiddo, let Chet be grumpy in peace." He grinned at his son, who smiled reluctantly at him. "You like being grumpy with her, don't ya?"
"I shows I'm older," Chet replied, grinning. "Now, I gotta go help Needle. She told me I better not be late. Stay outa troble, guys."
Fingal grinned. "Aw, come on Chet, you know you're the responsible one." Chet beamed at him then ran towards the castle. When the three finally reached the beach, Fingal put Blossom down and she immediately ran to a tree that was shedding blossoms and put one on her head.
"I'm a real blossom now!"she giggled happily. Willow walked to her and took the blossom and then tucked it behind her ear.
"Now it won't fall off," she told her sister.
"Fingal!" Swanfeather ran over and leaped on him from behind. Fingal grabbed her, keeping her up for apiggy back ride.
"You're getting way too heavy, kid," he said with a grin.
"Well I'm already training!" she told him reasonably. "Will Chet start soon?"
"Yeah, probably," Fingal replied, almost wishing he wasn't. He missed the days when Chet relied on him for everything. "He's working with Needle already, just not officially."
"Yay Chet!" cheered Tide.
Fingal put Swanfeather down then hugged Tide. "Hey, kid." Tide had nearly died a while back and it was because of that that Fingal had his family. Fingal had been horrified that he couldn't do enough to save him, which showed a side of him Reed hadn't ever seen before. It softened her enough that she ended up falling in love with him.
"Hi, Uncle Fingal," Tide replied happily.
What was I worried about? Thought Fingal. I can do this!
I so can't do this! Thought Fingal, an hour later, as he stood in the castle hallway, pulling on Swanfeather's arm as the other kids all tried to pull her back. "Come on! We're going to see Juniper!" he groaned.
"We wanna play with you some more!" yelled Blossom.
"No! You wanna play with Juniper!" he grunted, finally beginning to make progress. Finally, he got them up to Juniper and he collapsed in a chair.
Juniper gave him a look. "Couldn't take it?"
"I'm exhausted…" he groaned. "First, they played Fingal tug-of-war, where they all pulled on me. Then the girls wanted to paly dress up Fingal. Then Tide wanted to play war and they all teamed up on me."
Juniper nodded. "Yup. You couldn't take it."
Fingal groaned as Swanfeather began to yank on his arm, grinning. She was too old to think climbing on him was fun but she was perfect age to find his torment humorous. "Help me."
Juniper rolled his eyes, smiling. "Kids, give him a break." Together, all the kids ran off to play together.
Fingal grinned. "Oh, that's no fair."
Juniper chuckled and sat opposite him to talk.
Next chapter it'll pick up!